With the first hint of warm weather finally appearing, we are drawn to ideas of weekend getaways or vacations in our future.  

As you visit different locations near and far, what experiences help shape your perception of a nice place to go or a great visit?   

Think of the last day trip or vacation you took. When you drove into town, what was your first impression? When you stopped at a local establishment for a meal, to purchase gas or groceries, how were you treated?  Visitors, tourists and people thinking of moving to Stephenson County are developing their own impressions of our area based on these same encounters and it is up to each of us as residents to develop a hospitality mentality.  

Oftentimes it is not the friendly staff at the hotel desk or even the experience at an attraction that frames our memory of a destination.  More than specific interactions, we remember the feeling we get from a place we have visited. This feeling is comprised of the polite conversation we had with our waitress, the person who smiled and greeted us along the sidewalk or the gentlemen who held the door as we entered the store.   

We are all responsible for the environment we create in Stephenson County. Whether you are a cashier at the convenience store, a parent taking your kids to the park, or the delivery driver for takeout. Each one of us is creating an impression on tourists, visitors and people looking to move here whether you realize it or not.  Each of us are charged with creating an atmosphere where people enjoy being.   

And why wouldn’t people enjoy being in Stephenson County!  This week we are celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week and have highlighted several attractions including outdoor activities, family fun spots, arts and culture stops and our local breweries and winery. Stephenson County is a great place to live, work and play. If you need to refresh your memory on all there is to do right in your backyard, visit greaterfreeport.com/visit for a great list of activities. 

Join us in celebrating all we have to offer in #StephensonCo, because #TravelMatters!